Impressive Bill churning huge waves; New England air pollution episode underway

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 14:38 GMT le 18 août 2009

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Hurricane Bill has popped out an impressive eye, and continues to gather strength over the middle Atlantic. Visible and infrared satellite imagery show a well-organized, symmetric hurricane, with plenty of low-level spiral banding and upper-level outflow channels to the north and south. The spectacular appearance of the storm is evidence of the light wind shear environment that Bill finds itself in.

Wind shear is low, 5 - 10 knots, and is forecast to remain low to moderate, 5-15 knots, for the next five days. Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) will rise steadily from 27.5°C today to 29°C on Friday. Total ocean heat content also rises today into Wednesday, and it is expected that Bill will take advantage of these favorable conditions to intensify into a major hurricane. The Hurricane Hunters make their first penetration into Bill this afternoon. The NOAA Hurricane Hunters will be continuously flying Bill for the next three days. They are flying research missions that will feed real-time radar data into an experimental version of the HWRF model to see if this data can improve the model forecasts.


Figure 1. Wave forecast for Hurricane Bill from NOAA's Wavewatch III model. Beginning Saturday (right panel) large waves from Bill are expected to affect most of the U.S. East Coast. By Sunday, the model predicts waves of 10 - 15 feet may impact the offshore waters of New England.

Water vapor satellite loops show that a trough of low pressure is diving down towards Bill, and this trough will be able to turn Bill more to the northwest over the next two days, and Bill will miss the Lesser Antilles Islands. The main impact of Bill on these islands will be high waves. Yesterday, Bill passed just north of Buoy 41041, which recorded significant wave heights of 28.8 feet. Maximum wave height is typically a factor of 1.9 greater than the significant wave height, so Bill was likely generating waves up to 55 feet high. High waves from Bill are propagating across the Atlantic towards the U.S. East Coast, and will arrive there on Saturday, according to NOAA's Wavewatch III model (Figure 1). The highest waves spawned by Bill will affect the New England coast, where waves of 10 - 15 feet in offshore waters can be expected. The waves will cause significant erosion of beaches, and possible damage to shoreline structures.

A much larger trough of low pressure is expected to develop along the U.S. East Coast late this week, turning Bill to the north. Exactly where this turn occurs is still not clear, and both Bermuda and Cape Cod, Massachusetts will be in Bill's 5-day forecast cone of uncertainty. At present, it appears that the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland or Nova Scotia are at greatest risk from a strike by Bill, but New England and Bermuda cannot relax just yet.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The remains of Tropical Storm Ana are bringing heavy rain to Haiti, Cuba, and the Bahamas today, and this activity will spread over South Florida tonight. The remains are disorganized, and are not likely to re-develop. No models are calling for any new tropical cyclones to develop in the Atlantic over the next seven days.


Figure 2. Image from NASA's Terra satellite of air pollution haze over the Northeast U.S. on Monday, August 17, 2009.

First major air pollution episode of the summer for the Northeast U.S.
New England is currently experiencing a far more deadly weather event than a direct hit by Hurricane Bill would likely bring--a large dome of high pressure. The reason? The high pressure system camped over the Northeast U.S. has brought hot temperatures, stagnant air, and the summer's first major air pollution episode.

The event started on Sunday, when a high pressure system with light winds moved over the eastern U.S., limited mixing and leading to stagnation and a buildup of pollutants. Mostly sunny skies and high temperatures also enhanced formation of ground-level ozone gas, a dangerous pollutant. Furthermore, southerly winds brought high humidity into the Northeast, which is conducive to particle pollution formation in the atmosphere. Particle pollution is the most deadly form of air pollution in the U.S. The poor air quality led to issuance of air quality advisories and action days on Monday in more than 30 cities, including New York City, NY; Newark, NJ; Providence, RI; and Portland, ME.

Today's air pollution forecast
Today, similar conditions are expected across much of the region, and Air Quality Index (AQI) levels are forecasted to remain in the Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (Code Orange) range for many areas in the Northeast. For a complete list of action/advisory days and their locations, visit the EPA AIRNow website.

Health Tip: Cut back on strenuous outdoor exercise when air quality is expected to be poor.

How You Can Help: Choose a cleaner commute - share a ride to work or use public transportation. Bicycle or walk when possible. Combine errands and reduce trips.

Mortality from air pollution
As I discussed in a previous blog post, air pollution is a far more deadly weather hazard in the U.S. than hurricanes. Sure, hurricanes have killed an average of 150 people per year in the U.S., and the "premature deaths" caused by air pollution are only partly attributable to breathing bad air, while drowning in a hurricane's storm surge is entirely due to the hurricane. Nevertheless, a great many children die of pollution-induced asthma attacks who would not have died otherwise, and the mortality due to air pollution in the general population is in the thousands or ten of thousands each year. Outdoor air pollution in the U.S. due to particulate pollution alone was estimated by the EPA in 1997 to cause at least 20,000 premature deaths each year. A 2005 study by EPA scientists (Particulate Matter Health Risk Assessment for Selected Urban Areas) estimated that over 4,700 premature deaths occur each year in just nine cities (Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Boston, Phoenix, Seattle, and San Jose)--even if those cities all met the current federal standards for particulate matter pollution. Extrapolating these data to the entire nation puts the annual death toll in the tens of thousands--but the EPA has not calculated that total. Some studies have placed the annual pollution death toll in the U.S. at 50,000 to 100,000 (Dockery, D.W., and C.A Pope III. Acute Respiratory Effects of Particulate Air Pollution. Annual Review Public Health, 1994, vol. 15,107-32.) The death toll is much higher in other parts of the world, where air pollution standards are not as stringent. Globally, about 800,000 people per year die prematurely due to outdoor air pollution, according to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. This represents about 1.2 percent of total annual global deaths.

In the debate over the costs of switching over the cleaner energy sources, the huge costs and deaths attributable to air pollution are often ignored. Sure, it will be costly to move away from fossil fuels, but let's not forget that the price per gallon we pay at the pump does not include the billions in medical costs we pay for the effects of air pollution.

I'll have an update Wednesday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting adkinsadam1:
Latest GFDL has Bill becoming long-lasting Cat. 5.
Latest HWRF has Bill barely making it to Cat. 3 status.
Hmmmm.... Which is more reliable?


GFDL.
Member Since: 10 août 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 672
1988. this solar minimum has been unusually quiet with over 600-something spotless days. very unusual...here's a comparison with the last solar minimum. the blue is the number of spotless days during the last solar minimum and the red is for this solar minimum.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting listenerVT:
Those of us in the Northeast aren't quite ready
to stop watching and just wait wait wait yet. LOL!
I'm with you I'm going to monitor this very closly because you never know if Bill misses his turn by a few degress New England is in truble
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:

Does these models take OHC into account?


I couldn't tell you...
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1992. WAHA
Here is another update on Bill. Please try the polls.
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Quoting java162:



what does that mean?


I think it means an overall reduction in heat energy to planet us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I hate the term "fish Storm" and I would certainly not call Bill a fish. Part of the United States coastline is now in the 5 day cone. Will it hit the US? Most likely not, but the US is in the 5 day cone now. How can this storm be termed a fish. Bermuda may get hit as well. Any storm that makes it past 50 W should not be termed a fish in my opinion, there is land north of it at that time. I really don't like fishcasting anymore than I like those that wishcast any other direction. Some people start calling storms fish right off the African coast.


Quoting PcolaDan:

Which is exactly why some fight so hard against using the term "fish storm" when one is not aimed at CONUS.
Good luck.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I was out in a refinery in Beaumont taking measurements during the rain... tornado only 3-miles away... didn't even notice.

I've got a question about the Bill ensemble models. Why do nearly 1/2 of the ensemble models carry Bill North towards Nova Scotia or NW towards Maine & Canada... while the other 1/2 of the models carry it away North and East into the Northern Atlantic. Is it possible that the models are seeing a weakness or low up North that might pull Bill that direction and then stall? Strange that so many picked up on it if nothing is there.

Also to point out... the Southern edge of that low pressure crossing the Midwest now seems to have stalled a bit. The Northern frontal boundary is moving to the East on schedule, but if you look at the southern edge, it seems fixed around Arkansas/OK border. Doesn't seem to be moving as fast as the rest of the system. If this southern part of the low is late arriving, will it allow Bill to drift a little further West before finally picking it up?
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1988. java162
Quoting pearlandaggie:
on a space weather side note, the latest solar images are devoid of spots and have been for 38 days or so...



what does that mean?
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Those of us in the Northeast aren't quite ready
to stop watching and just wait wait wait yet. LOL!
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Quoting PcolaDan:

Think I have seen some from tinypic too.


I am all set. I posted too many images on that one post. See my path above.
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CARIBBEAN SEA
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL
530 PM EDT TUE AUG 18 2009

OFFSHORE WATERS FORECAST FOR THE SW AND TROPICAL N ATLC FROM 07N
TO 22N BETWEEN 55W AND 65W

SEAS GIVEN AS SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT...WHICH IS THE AVERAGE
HEIGHT OF THE HIGHEST 1/3 OF THE WAVES. INDIVIDUAL WAVES MAY BE
MORE THAN TWICE THE SIGNIFICANT WAVE HEIGHT.

AMZ087-190330-
TROPICAL N ATLANTIC FROM 07N TO 22N BETWEEN 55W AND 65W
530 PM EDT TUE AUG 18 2009

...HURRICANE WARNING FROM 17N TO 20N E OF 58W...

.TONIGHT...N OF 16N E OF 57W NE TO E WINDS 20 TO 30 KT
INCREASING TO TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS OR GREATER. SEAS 8 TO
12 FT BUILDING TO 12 FT OR GREATER. ELSEWHERE N OF 16N NE WINDS
15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 7 TO 11 FT. S OF 16N NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15
KT. SEAS BUILDING 6 TO 9 FT IN NE SWELL. NUMEROUS SQUALLS AND
TSTMS N OF 15N SHIFTING NW WITH BILL.
.WED THROUGH THU NIGHT...HURRICANE AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE
WINDS WITHIN 180 NM NE QUADRANT...160 NM SE QUADRANT...105 NM SW
QUADRANT AND 160 NM NW QUADRANT. HIGHEST WINDS 115 KT GUSTS TO
140 KT OF CENTER OF BILL. HIGHEST SEAS TO 38 FT. CONDITIONS
MOVING N OF THE AREA LATE THU NIGHT. ELSEWHERE N OF 15N WINDS 20
TO 33 KT. SEAS 8 TO 12 FT. S OF 15N SE TO S WINDS 15 KT. SEAS 5
TO 8 FT IN NE SWELL.
.FRI AND SAT...N OF 12N SE TO S WINDS 15 TO 20 KT. SEAS 7 TO 9
FT. S OF 12N NE TO E WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT.
.SUN...N OF 14N E WINDS 20 TO 25 KT. SEAS 8 TO 11 FT IN E SWELL.
S OF 14N E TO SE WINDS 10 TO 15 KT. SEAS 5 TO 7 FT
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting lopaka001:
I wonder if Ana will give us any rain here in south florida..
Looks like that low is sucking the life out of her..



If it still has the convection it's supposed to be in your area tomorrow.
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Quoting drg0dOwnCountry:
maybe try Imageshack?

Think I have seen some from tinypic too.
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1980. java162
its boring in the tropics.... bill is going out to sea and there is nothing really worth watching so i guess its back to the same old wait wait wait!!!
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Quoting P451:


Wow.

Wow!
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I wonder if Ana will give us any rain here in south florida..
Looks like that low is sucking the life out of her..

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Raw number is 7.1 now

UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2009 Time : 231500 UTC
Lat : 17:01:01 N Lon : 52:41:34 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.8 / 928.8mb/134.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
6.8 7.1 7.1

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +2.2mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 29 km

Center Temp : +9.7C Cloud Region Temp : -73.9C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF

****************************************************

Member Since: 1 août 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
1970. hahaha!
1971. ditto.
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Instead this one is supposed emerge over the loop current in the gulf
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Quoting 789:
you have a link for tropic chat

http://www.wunderground.com/community/chat.asp
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Quoting adkinsadam1:
Latest GFDL has Bill becoming long-lasting Cat. 5.
Latest HWRF has Bill barely making it to Cat. 3 status.
Hmmmm.... Which is more reliable?

Does these models take OHC into account?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1971. jdjnola
Quoting pearlandaggie:
on a space weather side note, the latest solar images are devoid of spots and have been for 38 days or so...


Must have used up its hydrogen supply...
Member Since: 4 août 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 238
Quoting pearlandaggie:
on a space weather side note, the latest solar images are devoid of spots and have been for 38 days or so...


Looks like they did the whole thing in Terrazzo
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Latest GFDL has Bill becoming long-lasting Cat. 5.
Latest HWRF has Bill barely making it to Cat. 3 status.
Hmmmm.... Which is more reliable?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
1967. TopWave
What are the chances of the GOM high pinching off the trough late this week?
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1966. jdjnola
Quoting MiamiHurricane80:


Correct. I was on board earlier when a few people here were saying Bill was going west of WNW. Now that looks like it's not the case. I think Tampaspin's concern of the high vs trough is interesting and plausible. Models are only as good as was get entered into them. Same as a calculator.


I agree with you completely. Now if other people were only so reasonable. My peeve is being called a wishcaster or whatever when I point out that models can and frequently are wrong, especially when arguing with people who say the storm can't possibly be a threat to CONUS when it's still days away.
Member Since: 4 août 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 238
Quoting AllStar17:
My best estimate at the moment (thoughts):
maybe try Imageshack?
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My best estimate at the moment (thoughts):
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Quoting PcolaDan:

The whole GoM has been a blob today. Not as bas for us today though. I was able to get my tea made, before the rains returned.


LOL!
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1962. Ldog74
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
Does anyone know of what a 8.0 ADT reading would look like on sat


It would look something like cyclone Monica near Australia in 2006 Link
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Quoting GatorWX:


nighttime!!
Africa turns purple at night. lol
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Wow that is amazing what was the specs on the ADT?
Member Since: 1 août 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
1957. 789
Quoting Category5hitsNewYork:
EVERYONE COME OVER TO TROPIC CHAT TO TALK BILL
you have a link for tropic chat
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1956. GatorWX
Quoting pearlandaggie:
1935. i like the purple Africa!


nighttime!!
Member Since: 1 janvier 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2964
Evening gang...
Bill turning yet?
Ana remnants showing any signs of development *crosses fingers for a no response*
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UW - CIMSS
ADVANCED DVORAK TECHNIQUE
ADT-Version 7.2.3
Tropical Cyclone Intensity Algorithm

----- Current Analysis -----
Date : 18 AUG 2009 Time : 224500 UTC
Lat : 16:57:36 N Lon : 52:29:08 W


CI# /Pressure/ Vmax
6.8 / 928.8mb/134.8kt


Final T# Adj T# Raw T#
(3hr avg)
6.8 7.0 7.0

Latitude bias adjustment to MSLP : +2.2mb

Estimated radius of max. wind based on IR : 29 km

Center Temp : +10.1C Cloud Region Temp : -72.9C

Scene Type : EYE

Positioning Method : RING/SPIRAL COMBINATION

Ocean Basin : ATLANTIC
Dvorak CI > MSLP Conversion Used : ATLANTIC

Tno/CI Rules : Constraint Limits : NO LIMIT
Weakening Flag : OFF
Rapid Dissipation Flag : OFF
Member Since: 10 août 2009 Posts: 3 Comments: 672
Quoting SomeRandomTexan:
A lot of tropical moisture surging through South East Texas... There were other tornandos spotted throughout the area that didn't make it to the ground... A hanger in the Port Arthur/Nederland area...

The whole GoM has been a blob today. Not as bas for us today though. I was able to get my tea made, before the rains returned.
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1952. Ldog74
Quoting Thundercloud01221991:
Does anyone know of what a 8.0 ADT reading would look like on sat


It would look something like cyclone Monica near Australia in 2006 Link
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on a space weather side note, the latest solar images are devoid of spots and have been for 38 days or so...
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Quoting adkinsadam1:
Latest GFDL shows Bill becoming a long-lasting Cat. 5!
Well that can't be good news for the folks in the Canadian Maritimes
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Quoting adjusterx:


I definately wouldn't want to pinch a big one off too high. Causes a bigger splash.


I hate it when that happens.
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jpsb
In meteorology we base our knowledge on models, observed data - to sum it up on empirical data.
So as you not seem to denie this in mets, still you keep fishing for straws when it comes to climatology and other areas of science in climate.

Your reasoning makes no sense.
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Quoting Category5hitsNewYork:
EVERYONE COME OVER TO TROPIC CHAT TO TALK BILL

BIll is interesting and exciting to watch, but if you've never experienced a major hurricane, I hope you have a survival kit and a chain saw, unless you're a city slicker. Trust me, the day after is not fun.
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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